Kickboxing is making a major comeback! Or maybe it never really went away. That’s because this ultra-calorie-burning (you can blast about 700 or so per hour) workout can help you shed fat and build muscle in a flash. You’ll fire up basically every muscle from head to toe, working on strength, coordination as well as endurance. Plus, unleashing some energy on a heavy bag is a great way to unwind after a stressful day.
Want to try your hand (and fists and feet) at the sport? Here are six of the most popular studios around the country. And don’t settle for just one — each class has its own unique spin on standard kickboxing that will keep you on your toes and coming back for more.
The Best Kickboxing Classes to Kick Your Butt Into Gear
1. Kettlebell Kickboxing
Location: New York, NY
Best for: Those who want to kick their kettlebell routine up a notch
Weight training with kettlebells is already a killer workout — studies have shown you’ll get a more intense session than doing traditional weight training, and you can blast upwards of 14 calories a minute. This routine kicks up the burn even further by incorporating the fluid movements of martial arts (think Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu jitsu and karate). You’ll learn sequences to help improve your mobility, agility, balance and flexibility, interspersed with kettlebell exercises that build strength.
2. Work Train Fight
Location: New York, NY
Best for: Cardio lovers looking to add more strength training to the mix
The sessions at this New York City gym fuse together functional training with the art of kickboxing. You’ll do all the regular punches, jabs and kicks that get your heart pumping along with heaps of weight training — incorporating not just heavy bags but free weights, kettlebells and TRX, too.
3. UFC Gym
Best for: Martial arts enthusiasts
The workouts at these gyms (more than 100 of them located nationwide) were the first to mash-up traditional group fitness with mixed martial arts, or MMA. You’ll reap the benefits of improved agility and concentration while getting to try some of the moves used by UFC athletes. (Think striking drills involving various punches, flying knees, and spinning kicks — all in a safe, structured environment.) And depending on the session, you might do rounds of plyometric moves — like explosive push-ups and burpees — to amp up the calorie burn as well. According to the trainers, these classes can torch between 500 and 1,200 an hour!
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Best for: Aerial enthusiasts and superheroes in training
Ready to raise the bar? Picture holding onto resistance bands (aka Spiderbands) that are suspended from the ceiling, while doing traditional kickboxing moves and aerial-based exercises. Jabs, hooks, uppercuts and all kinds of kicks tone up your entire body. Then you’ll jump and leverage your weight with the Spiderbands to try trickier, heart rate-revving moves like scaling the heavy bag. Also try the new class varieties Spiderkix (kickboxing only, no gloves) and Spider Jumpstrike (with moves done on a mini trampoline).
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Best for: Those who want to hone their boxing skills
Get back to basics at this LA studio. In a small group setting, expect to go through rounds of jabs, hooks and uppercuts in a session that sculpts muscle and results in an intense cardio session as well. The class includes an additional focus on mobility drills, balance, circuits for endurance training and work to tighten your core.
6. Title Boxing Club
Best for: Those wanting the flexibility to box in different locations — and have a blast while doing it
With 30, 60 and 75-minute group classes available, there’s something for your schedule and goals at this popular kickboxing chain, with more than 100 outposts around the country. Title Boxing trainers say you’ll burn up to 1,000 calories an hour as you alternate between punching and kicking drills and weight-bearing intervals. Need an extra boost of excitement? Sign up for a class with live music spun by a professional DJ — we promise you’ll enjoy it more than elbowing your way through a crowded club.
Location: New York, NY
Best for: Those practicing model behavior
Victoria’s Secret models and Fashion Week regulars come to work out with Michael Olajide, Jr., and for good reason: The sweat sessions at this NYC studio are fierce. In the 30- or 60-minute Aerobox, experience quick, intense sequences of punches interspersed with rounds of jumping rope and bodyweight moves like squats and push-ups. The goal? Major muscle sculpting and killer cardio benefits. The hour-long Aeroimpact class takes you through jabs, hooks, uppercuts and kicks against heavy bags, speed bags and double-end bags to hone your fighting skills and improve both speed and endurance.